Essential oils are all the rage these days, and for good reason. These potent oils can be used in a number of different applications. Whether they’re helping you clean, undergo beauty regimens, treat scrapes and bruises, or repel insects, there’s an essential oil out there that can do everything!
There are a number of essential oils that can naturally repel insects. Some are specifically good at deterring mosquitoes, while others can repel bugs like ticks and black flies. When you use essential oils as aromatherapy, they function as barriers against the bugs. The bugs avoid these scents and can’t smell your human blood behind them.
Best Essential Oils to Repel Mosquitoes
|Product||How Many Drops of Oil||Carrier Oil and Dilution|
Our Best Pick
|25||25 drops of peppermint oil|
|25||25 drops of lavender|
|5 drops||10 drops of lemongrass, 10 drops of lemon eucalyptus, 5 drops of tea tree|
Many people are looking for natural bug repellents that don’t come with side effects. Essential oils make an excellent solution to this question. With that said, essential oils are powerful, and many of them can be harmful to the skin if applied undiluted. You should always make sure to look up the effects of any ingredients you use and dilute the oil with a carrier oil. As long as the essential oils are used safely, they should function well as insect repellents.
Most of the widely-used mosquito repellents currently on the market are made from synthetic chemicals. Though several have been approved by the FDA, there’s a growing body of research indicating that these chemicals might have more problems than originally thought. Some experts suggest that essential oils are a better bet for insect repellent than getting commercially-endorsed bug sprays.
One of the benefits of using essential oils for your insect repellent is that you can create your own bug spray, which makes repelling insects much cheaper than buying the name brand spray. Creating sprays isn’t even difficult. It’s mostly just mixing droplets of ingredients together and shaking them up.
The Case for Essential Oils As Insect Repellent
Human beings have skin that functions as a protective layer against the outside world. It keeps toxic substances from entering your body and wreaking havoc. In addition, your skin is where the immune system reacts when it detects toxins or allergens on the surface. It’s important to keep your skin healthy if you want the rest of your body to function properly.
Synthetic chemicals aren’t automatically more dangerous to human skin than natural ones. There are plenty of natural poisons that you shouldn’t put on your skin, and there are plenty of synthetic chemicals that work perfectly well. But the synthetic chemicals that make up insect repellent have some questionable ingredients.
In addition, synthetic chemicals are much more likely to cause allergic reactions. The immune system often reacts more violently to compounds it doesn’t recognize. That’s why foods packaged with chemicals and chemical-laden cleaners are more likely to make you break out. If you’re prone to allergies, you have less chance of reacting with sensitive skin as long as your active ingredients are natural.
Natural essential oils come with certain health benefits that give them an advantage over synthetic products, too.
Potential Health Hazards from DEET
DEET is the most popular synthetic chemical that’s used in insect repellents these days. It has been approved by the FDA for use with children two months of age and older. The majority of insect repellents use DEET because it’s been proven to repel mosquitoes better than almost anything else on the market.
But DEET has some serious drawbacks, too. One is that DEET has an extremely strong smell. When you think of “bug spray smell,” that’s what you’re imagining. The stronger the spray, the stronger the smell. If you have sensory issues related to scent, you might prefer to get bitten above deal with that.
DEET can also be dangerous when humans are exposed to it in large doses. Studies have indicated that high levels of DEET can have a toxic effect on the central nervous system. This has led several people to recommend that you use products without DEET, especially if you intend to reapply the repellent consistently as you’re going about your day.
A variety of DEET-free repellents are available on the market. But they don’t have the same appeal as a DIY spray that uses essential oils. Some of the DEET-free repellents still use harsh chemicals that can cause sensitive skin to break out in hives.
Making your own spray out of essential oils is easier and better.
Lavender is a flowering and fragrant herb that’s native to the southeast of India and the Mediterranean regions. The plant is best known for having a fragrant and strong aroma that’s used in beauty and bath products. In addition to being a scent many people love, lavender is also a natural insect repellent. You can use lavender oil as a topical repellent as long as you dilute it with a carrier oil.
When you apply lavender oil mixtures to your skin, you should start with the same places that you use perfume and cologne. The wrists, ankles, and neck are the best places to start. Should mosquitoes still be bothering you, you can add dabs of the spray in other places. Mixing lavender with eucalyptus and citronella oils will make some of the most powerful insect repellent available.
Peppermint is an essential oil that works well as a natural repellent for mosquitoes. It’s a good choice for people who prefer an essential oil that doesn’t have a strong scent. Though the scent of peppermint is unmistakable, it’s also not completely overwhelming. You can either use the oil alone or mix it into a homemade spray to repel horseflies, gnats, mosquitoes, and other bugs.
Though bugs aren’t fans of peppermint, most children and adults like the refreshing scent. It also has a cooling effect that’s great for warm spring and summer months.
If you use the oil by itself, dab it onto your neck, wrists, and ankles. You can dab some on your clothing, but you should spot test it first to make sure the oil won’t stain the fabric. Place the oil on parts of your clothes that are near your skin like your collar, the edges of your sleeves, and the hems of your pants.
By combining peppermint oil with other essential oils and ingredients, you can create a DIY bug spray to use around your home.
Basil is one of the most popular herbs to use in different dishes. You might already have some of these plants in your garden! You can use basil oil to create a natural insect repellent that allows you to push stinging bugs away. Unlike chemical sprays, basil has a pleasant smell that’s nice to add to your space. In addition, you can add basil easily to your garden if you don’t have any yet.
To make basil insect repellent, you only have to undergo a couple steps. You can mix basil oil with a few drops of other essential carrier oils. Or, if you’re using the plants themselves, gather four to six ounces of fresh leaves. Steep them in four ounces of water. After several hours of steeping, combine the basil water with four ounces of vodka. The alcohol works as a carrier.
Pour your concoction into a spray bottle and attach the nozzle. You’re all set to go repel insects with your natural ingredients!
Lavender is a great essential oil due to its versatility. In addition to being effective at treating bug bites and mosquito bites, lavender is well-known for providing relaxing and drowsy effects. You can use lavender scent instead of mothballs to keep insects and moths away from your clothing. Lavender oil can be sprayed to clean wounds, cuts, bruises, and skin irritations.
Peppermint is a good option for those who are worried about essential oils smelling too strongly. The peppermint oil has a fresh, clean, minty scent that isn’t overpowering. It’s effective as a natural insect repellent and can also relieve indigestion. Studies have shown that peppermint oil helps with cough and cold symptoms, sore muscles, and headaches. You get benefits to your mental alertness and clarity, and the oil can also help you feel less anxious.
Basil works great as an ingredient in food and as a potential insect repellent. Studies indicate that basil contains larvicide, a compound that specifically targets and kills insects in the larval stage. This makes it a great choice for battling mosquitoes and other insects that seem to spawn ten million generations when your back is turned.